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Hard Water vs Soft Water

As strange as it may sound, not all tap water is the same. In some places, hard water comes out of every faucet, while in other areas soft water is more common. In larger cities the water usually falls into the soft water category, while well water is generally hard water. Many people who have well water will invest in water filters to soften the water.

What Exactly is Hard Water?
Hard water is generally defined as water that contains microscopic particles of different minerals, most typically calcium or magnesium. Soft water is merely filtered and treated water that contains no other ions except sodium. By this definition about 85 percent of the water in the United States is hard water. The difference does not generally effect the taste of the water very much, but it can effect other things. Primarily, hard water can leave mineral spots on household surfaces. Hard water gets a bad reputation in many places; however, it does not heavily impact daily life, in spite of sounding less modern and convenient than soft water.

How Does Having Hard Water Effect Me?
Hard water may reduce the effectiveness of some cleaning products through a chemical interaction between minerals in the water and the active ingredients in soaps and detergents. However, using hot water has been shown to negate this almost completely. In the bathroom these minerals can build up and leave limescale deposits or water spots requiring a more thorough cleaning. They can also make some shampoos and soaps more difficult to lather. However, the effectiveness of the shampoo is not reduced. In cooking, hard water has no effect except occasionally leaving water spots on dishes that aren’t properly dried. Hard water can also slightly raise the cost of heating water, because the grains in the water decrease the actual amount of water received. In rare cases excessively hard water can cause a buildup of limescale inside pipes, appliances, and even on skin. Excessively soft water can deteriorate metal pool equipment. Having hard water is not necessarily bad, in fact, drinking it can prevent mineral deficiencies of calcium and magnesium. The only problem with having hard water is calcified limescale deposits. There are several easy methods to remove this build up.

How to Remove Limescale
There are some chemical cleaners (such as Bon Ami, Bar Keeper’s Best Friend, SpotX, etc.) that are excellent for removing these deposits from counters and glasses. There are also Lime-away or CLR for non-food surfaces. For more sensitive or frequently handled areas, vinegar or an abrasive scrubber such as steel wool will generally clear up the deposits quickly.
 
Methods for Softening Water
There are four common ways to soften water. There are chemical water softeners that can help prevent hard water from damaging clothes or reducing the effectiveness of laundry detergent; however, the resulting water is not fit for human consumption. There are simple water filters that produce clean and drinkable water that is perfect for most problems, but limescale will still build up inside of pipes. Mechanical water softeners can be built into the plumbing system to increase heating efficiency and make water better for laundry; but these systems are highly expensive to install and to run, and the water is not always safe to drink. Finally, there are magnetic water conditioners, which prevent limescale, produce water that is fit to drink, lower heating costs, and leave calcium in the water for nutritional purposes, but are also fairly expensive to install.

 

This article was written by Sheldon Armstrong, a regular contributor here at INFOtainment News. He writes this on behalf of Avista Technologies, your number one choice when looking for membrane construction services. Check out their website today and see how they can help you!

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Sheldon Armstrong

Sheldon Armstrong is a regular contributor for INFOtainment News. He loves writing about technology and keeping up with the latest gadgets on the market. In addition, he contributes articles covering a wide range of topics together with his friends who appear as guest writers every now and then.

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